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Gas prices see spike of 59 cents in month
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's still February, but California gas prices are springing forward.

The average price of gasoline in the region saw one of the largest one-month leaps since 2000, the Automobile Club of Southern California said Friday. Statewide, the average price of regular gasoline was $4.22, up 12 cents from last week.

Gas prices have spiked between 57 and 59 cents over the past 30 days. The region's largest increase was 70 cents between May and June 2008.

Auto Club officials said the surge can't be attributed to a single factor, but refineries were expected to undergo a heavy maintenance schedule, and large amounts of money have been plowed into contracts speculating that the price of gas and oil will go up.

Californians, however, are used to seeing a hefty price at the pump and might be resigned to paying $4 or more for a gallon of gas.

"We've done this before," said Auto Club spokeswoman Marie Montgomery. "It's definitely not good for consumers."

Last year, for instance, Californians were paying more than $4 a gallon, but there was a slower rise in prices.

Prices in Southern California now nearly match the highest cost for a gallon in the nation, which can be found on Maui. The average price of regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area was $4.316 per gallon Friday; the price in Wailuku, Hawaii, was $4.399.

The price in Los Angeles is 11.3 cents more than last week and 57 cents higher than last month. In San Diego, the average price is $4.285, which is an increase of 10.2 cents from last week and 58 cents from last month.

In San Francisco, the price is $4.22. A week ago, it was $4.08. That price has gone up 56 cents from a month ago.

Montgomery said she bought gas Thursday, and even after a discount, she paid $4.08 per gallon.

"And I should be happy with that?" she said, laughing. "It's frustrating."